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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km


Under-influence Dundee bodybuilder smashed four cars

September 28 2016

A steroid-fuelled bodybuilder who wrecked four cars in a matter of seconds has been spared a jail term. John Bertie admitted a charge of driving under the influence of drugs following the smash in Dundee's Strathmartine Road. Bertie - who has twice before been banned for driving under the influence - was barely able to stand when he drove down the busy street and ploughed into a Volkswagen Polo - sending it crashing into a Ford Fiesta. Fiscal depute Matthew Kerr told Dundee Sheriff Court that Bertie then got out of the car to survey the damage. He said: "He was observed to be struggling to stand up and was staggering. He staggered back in to the driver's seat and drove off. "He continued for approximately 50 yards before veering left again and colliding with a Hyundai car. "The accused continued to veer left and then collided with the back of a Fiat 500. "He then exited the vehicle again and was observed to stagger on to the pavement. "He was found by police and gave a negative breath sample but was heavily under the influence of an unknown substance." Bertie, 42, of Smith Street, pleaded guilty on summary complaint to a charge of driving while under the influence of drugs on August 23 this year. He was on bail at the time of the offence having been released only the day before from Forfar Sheriff Court. Defence solicitor Scott Norrie said: "He accepts responsibility for the matter. "He had been taking steroids at the time - he is a bodybuilder and has been using them to change his physique." Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC banned Bertie from the road for four years, ordered him to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work on a community payback order, imposed a year's supervision and ordered him to pay £1500 compensation. She said: "This is a serious matter - all the more serious because of your record."


Arbroath driver caught after telling police he had used drugs

February 13 2013

An Arbroath man who was caught in his driving seat after he admitted using cannabis to police has been disqualified from driving. Derek John Guthrie (28), of Fairport Road, Arbroath, admitted that on December 22 at Arbroath police office he failed to provide a specimen of blood without reasonable excuse that was required to ascertain his ability to drive a car. Depute fiscal Jill Drummond told the court Guthrie turned up at the police station voluntarily to inquire about an unrelated incident. She said: “The accused freely admitted to having used cannabis within the last two hours.” The police officer offered to drive Guthrie home, she said, but when he went outside he found the accused sitting in the driver’s seat of his car. “Guthrie openly admitted it was his vehicle and that he had driven it there,” Ms Drummond added. Guthrie gave a breath sample that was negative for alcohol but refused to give a blood sample. A medical examiner judged his speech and appearance to indicate drug use. Sheriff Peter Paterson disqualified Guthrie from driving for 15 months and fined him £250.


More severe drink and drug driving laws urged

October 26 2010

A leading safety charity has called for more stringent drink and drug driving laws in Scotland following a Courier investigation which has unveiled the extent of the problem in Angus. Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), was speaking after figures from Tayside Police revealed over 400 individuals in the area have been caught driving while under the influence of various substances since 2008. The majority of those charged were stopped by police while over the legal alcohol limit, including one driver who was aged just 15. However, Mr Clinton insisted that drug driving was becoming an increasing concern to road safety campaigners and called for "more effective" methods of testing for illegal substances in order to crack down on the problem. At present specially trained officers must carry out preliminary tests on drivers they believe to be unfit to drive due to having taken drugs. A series of examinations, including a balance test and a counting test, are used to determine whether the officer believes the driver is impaired through having taken certain substances. If drivers are believed to be guilty they will be requested to report to a police station for a medical examination and a blood sample may then be sent for testing. However, Mr Clinton believes the length of the process may skew the results and roadside testing could act as a "greater deterrent" to potential drug drivers. He said, "RoSPA believes that the only way to emulate the success we have had against drink driving is to implement a practical and effective system for detecting, charging and convicting drivers who are driving while impaired through drugs.Absolute ban"An absolute ban would be best, so the law does not set a legal level of use for drugs that are illegal in the first place." Mr Clinton also called for the legal limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to be lowered to 50mg, in line with Scottish Government recommendations. He added, "Despite 30 years of drink-drive education and enforcement, around 100,000 people are still caught drink driving annually, and eight people die in drink-drive accidents every week. "The current limit was based on evidence that the likelihood of a road accident rises sharply at and above that level. However, the evidence also showed that most drivers are impaired and their risk increases below this limit." A Tayside Police spokesman said it was "encouraging" that the number of those charged with such offences appeared to be declining slightly on a yearly basis. In 2008 the figure was 197, which fell to 156 by 2009. The most up-to-date figures for 2010 show 85 drivers have been charged after having driven while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk


Public thanked for reporting dangerous drivers during festive campaign

January 4 2012

Tayside Police arrested 43 drivers who were driving while drunk or drugged during its festive season campaign. The fourth and final week contributed 11 arrests to the total, including a 26-year-old man who had his vehicle forfeited at Dundee Sheriff Court for failing to provide a breath sample after a crash on Boxing Day. On New Year's Day another 26-year-old man, who was involved in a collision in the city, was found to be more than three times the legal limit and driving without insurance. He has also lost his vehicle. Assistant Chief Constable Angela Wilson said: ''Praise must be given to the Tayside public for their excellent support of the campaign. Throughout the four weeks, their contribution through calls to the police has resulted in a significant number of detections for drink- or drug-driving and I thank them for their efforts in making the roads of Tayside safer. ''To those who are still willing to take the gamble with their own lives and the lives of other road users, I say that we will do all in our power to bring you to justice and remove you from our roads.'' One sixth of the drivers caught over the limit had been in crashes and half were stopped for various reasons, such as erratic driving or vehicle defects. Ms Wilson said she was disappointed that so many drivers still fail to comply with laws designed to keep them safe, whether by breaking the speed limits, failing to wear seatbelts, or driving while on their phone. More than 1,500 people were caught committing these offences during the campaign, including 570 speeding offences detected by police and another 678 caught by speed cameras. There were 245 people not wearing a seatbelt and 168 using a phone. Another 52 drivers had their cars seized for not having a licence or insurance. Head of road policing Chief Inspector Sandy Bowman said: ''The message that we have promoted during this campaign has been consistent: if you need to drive a vehicle, do not take drink or drugs.''

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.


Instructor helped catch driver who took heroin

August 21 2015

A man who drove through the centre of Cowdenbeath after taking heroin was apprehended thanks to a quick-thinking driving instructor. Erik Arthur, 42, of Sang Road, Kirkcaldy, admitted that on June 9 on High Street, Cowdenbeath, he drove a car while unfit to do so through drink or drugs. Depute fiscal Azrah Yousaf said that at around 10.15am a driving instructor, accompanied in his vehicle by a student, saw another vehicle swerving over the roadway and mounting the grass verge, eventually coming to a halt on High Street five minutes later. The driver went into a shop and the instructor went to speak to him, the court heard, and then flagged down a passing police car after suspecting the man was under the influence. When officers asked him to get out of his car, Arthur was “unsteady on his feet, his speech was slurred and his eyes were glazed”. He gave a negative breath specimen for alcohol but a urine sample later showed he had taken heroin along with other drugs. Defence solicitor Danielle Varela said her client had been without his medication for 40 hours before being released from custody. Driving home, he suffered a seizure, was involved in an accident and the car was written off. Ms Varela said her client had gone fishing to “calm his nerves” and had taken heroin at around 1am, and had been driving home when stopped. Arthur will be sentenced next month.

UK & World

Authorities warn damage caused by drug-driving is likely to be worse than official figures suggest

October 4 2011

Over 300 people in Tayside and Fife have been caught driving under the influence of drugs over the last five years. Figures released to The Courier under freedom of information legislation revealed that 172 people in Fife have been charged for driving while unfit through drugs or drink since 2006. In Tayside, 238 people were charged for the same offence which is not the same as being unfit to drive because of excess alcohol while a further 24 people were charged with being in charge of a vehicle while unfit over the same five-year period. People who are suspected of driving while drunk but who do not provide a blood sample can also be charged with the offence. Motorists who are suspected of driving under the influence of drugs are subjected to a series of roadside tests to evaluate their coordination. If the driver is believed to be guilty they are then asked to report to a police station for a medical examination and may be required to give a blood sample. However, the law does not just apply to illegal substances such as cannabis or ecstasy. Many prescription drugs can impair reactions and anyone caught driving under their influence will face the same penalties as those who have been using recreational substances. Kevin Clinton, head of road safety with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said drug-driving was judged responsible for the deaths of 42 people on Britain's roads last year but actual figures could be much higher. He said: ''In 2010, provisional figures show that 250 people were killed as a result of a drink-driving crash. 'Impairment through illicit or medicinal drugs' was listed as a contributory factor in 42 fatalities and 208 serious injuries in 2010. ''However, this is likely to be an underestimate as it is still very difficult to test for drugs at the time of the accident. ''RoSPA has long called for the drink-drive limit to be lowered and for it to be easier for the police to catch those driving above the legal alcohol limit or under the influence of drugs, and we hope that new testing equipment and improved procedures will go a long way towards this. ''The vast majority of people now see drink-driving as the anti-social and dangerous practice that it is and we need to keep reinforcing this message. However, we must raise awareness of the dangers of drug-driving too, including prescription drugs. ''It should be emphasised that legitimate medicines can impair judgment in much the same way as alcohol or illegal drugs, and people should always check the information that comes with medication or ask their GP.'' Earlier this year the Department of Transport published a report that said more must be done to raise awareness of the dangers of drug-driving. It found that many users of illegal drugs deny their driving is impaired and discount the changes of getting caught. It also found that drug-driving is ''commonplace'' among some groups. The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs are the same as for drink-driving. Offenders face a minimum 12-month driving ban, a criminal record and can be fined up to £5,000. There will be a specific record on the driving licence for 11 years that details a conviction for drug-driving. If the driver is convicted of causing death by dangerous driving, they will receive a prison sentence of up to 14 years.